If, like me, you are constantly searching for ways to make the world a better place, you may have stumbled across an article on The Daily Green website encouraging people to substitute vodka for harmful chemicals in a variety of situations. These include the use of vodka as a poison ivy antidote, bathroom cleanser and insect repellent.
My question, whenever I read about some hitherto-unknown solution to a common problem such as spritzing your clothes with vodka instead of washing them in order to purge them of body odor, is: “What made you think of vodka when you started to stink?”
I can understand the derivation of some of these uses, such as the poison ivy cure. A man and a woman are at a garden party. They have a few drinks, then decide to “wander off” for, as Elvis Presley once put it, a little less conversation, a little more action.
They make themselves comfortable on what they think is a harmless plot of grass, then realize that they’re lying on poison ivy. The following exchange ensues:
WOMAN: Oh my god, this is poison ivy! I’m going to puff up like a hot air balloon!
MAN: I am sho shorry–I mean so sorry. Oops–now I’ve gone and spilled my vodka sonic–I mean vodka tonic–all over you.
WOMAN: You idiot!
MAN: I shed I was sorry . . .
WOMAN: You know, this actually feels good.
MAN: Great–I’m going to go get a refill.
You can see how that could happen, but bathroom cleanser? I’m sorry, I’m not persuaded. To pursue the question with scientific rigor, let’s use a control group: take a comparable couple, put them indoors at a cocktail party, and give them both a few vodka martinis:
MAN: Y’know, you have the nicest eyes.
WOMAN: Why thank you.
MAN: Are you . . . dating anybody?
WOMAN: No, but I have a strange urge to make porcelain bathroom fixtures bright and shiny right now.
While I’m reluctant to credit claims to vodka’s wide-ranging powers, I do enjoy a gin and tonic in the summer and can state without fear of contradiction that this liquor, derided by temperance busy-bodies in 18th century England as “blue ruin,” has magical powers equal to, if not greater than, those ascribed to vodka by environmentally-sensitive web sites, including mouthwash, footwash, making pickles, aftershave and making pie crusts. How do I know? I found it on the internet at networx.com, the website that proves beyond a peradventure of a doubt that some people know how to live, while we hidebound, strait-laced folks in Boston merely survive with our gin-free pie crusts.
“I’ll have a very dry pie crust, straight up–two olives.”
Not included in the list were a few uses for gin that I’ve developed on my own, at great personal expense in the form of hangovers, such as:
Substitute gin for coffee on sales calls: The dead hand of America’s Puritanical past continues to hold us back from meeting quarterly sales goals by insisting that business professionals meet over coffee or an abstemious lunch. Let’s listen in as a sales rep for a major manufacturer of tools sits down with a big prospect:
PROSPECT: You know, you were right about gin for breakfast. It’s not bad with orange juice. What did you call this?
SALES REP: A gin Screwdriver, I guess. And speaking of screwdrivers, how many #1 X 3 Phillips Head Screwdrivers did you want?
PROSPECT: I don’t know–you think forty gross is too many?
SALES REP: You never know when friends are going to drop in!
PROSPECT: You’re right. Make it fifty.
Irrelevant, but isn’t that the whole point?
Bonus money-saving tip: If you hold an empty gin bottle under hot running water, you can make it sweat out another half-shot. I read about this startling natural phenomenon years ago but have always faced skepticism when I told others about it. Last night after the liquor stores were closed, I put the theory to a test, and am pleased to report that people who claim this liquor budget-stretching technique is just an urban myth are dead wrong.
If only it worked on plastic tonic bottles.